Many people would agree that every human being has a spiritual aspect or side to them. Spirituality is often understood as the meaning we ascribe to ourselves, the world, and even the universe around us, as well as our ultimate beliefs and values about birth, life and death.
Christian spirituality is based on four important relationships – our relationship with God, with ourselves, with others and with the created world. God is described as being ‘closer to us than we are to ourselves’ and yet so often we seem far away. Our spirituality therefore, has to address the question of how to live with God who is often present, but sometimes absent. The Psalmist prays; ‘give me an undivided heart’ – focusing on expanding that part of us which is open God.
Thomas Merton, a monk was clear; ‘don’t go into the desert to escape people – but to find them in God.’ Somehow getting closer to God helps us to be closer to others especially those who are different to us. And finally our spirituality should be healing the way we relate to the amazing world around us which is in such danger. In this way, we do not separate our inner and outer worlds – our prayer and our action are intimately connected.
Jesus Christ, the one Christians follow, seemed to have these four relationships fully clear and open in his life. He knew that he was God’s beloved child and that gave him a secure identity and so knew God’s will for his life and the world. He announced God’s Kingdom which was radically inclusive and healing of all – including people who were thought of as complete outsiders. And he was able to calm a storm. Through all this, he prayed and he taught his followers to pray.